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NatWest tests AI-powered digital human to answer customer queries

BBR Staff Writer Published 22 February 2018

NatWest, a UK-based retail and commercial bank, has started advanced testing of an artificial intelligence (AI) driven digital human in banking operations.

In 2017, NatWest launched a text-based chat bot, Cora, which can answer 200 basic banking queries. It is available on the bank’s online help pages.

A new Cora prototype has been designed through using advancements in neuroscience, psychology, computing power and artificial intelligence.

Cora digital human is being developed to have a two-way verbal conversation with on a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone.

Cora digital human can answer basic verbal questions such as “how do I login to online banking?”, “how do I apply for a mortgage?” and “what do I do if I lose my card?”

The digital human, which depends on audio and visual sensors, can be used as an additional way for customers for clearing basic banking queries.

New Zealand-based Soul Machines has provided the technology required for the Cora digital human.

Soul Machines applies biologically inspired models of the human brain and neural networks to create a virtual nervous system for the digital humans, which can detect human emotion and react verbally and physically through facial expressions.

NatWes innovation director Kevin Hanley said: "We’re really excited about this technology because we think it could create another way for our customers to bank with us on top of the usual services we offer and be used to help answer questions round the clock, whilst cutting queuing times for simple questions.”

Soul Machines chief business officer Greg Cross said: “NatWest has been at the forefront of technology vision and advancement for years and using Soul Machines to reimagine their customer experience sets them apart and continues to show the bank’s leadership in engaging and providing the highest level of service for their customers.”

Image: The digital human will help in clearing basic banking queries. Photo: courtesy of Royal Bank of Scotland.